Energized by the rise in consumer confidence and the continuation of a strong economy, home furnishings professionals from across the world worked together to create and sustain a vibrant and energetic business atmosphere at the recently completed April 23 - May 1, 1998 International Home Furnishings Market. Housing activity, manageable inflation, and stable mortgage rates continue to provide strength and a competitive advantage to home furnishings in the industry's quest for a larger share of consumer disposable dollars. The goal is to create a stronger consumer demand for home furnishings worldwide. The event performed with a maturity and vitality befitting its 89 years of operation and its world class stature. Strong attendance and healthy product acceptance were reported throughout the Market by its 2,300 exhibitors.
Significant additions of square footage were opened for the April Market. The total square footage is now 8 million square feet or 720,000 square meters of permanent and temporary exhibition space in 160 separate buildings. These showrooms are concentrated in High Point and Thomasville, North Carolina. The International Home Furnishings Market is the largest home furnishings market in the world. It provides industry access to the broadest selection of casegoods, upholstery, accessories, lighting, bedding, and rugs in the world. Market's 2,300 exhibitors introduced and showcased the largest assortment of home furnishings on display anywhere in the world at this Market. It continues to be a highly competitive event with combinations of product, price, and promotion as key factors in exhibitors' individual performance levels.
The event's 71,500 participants conducted business in an atmosphere that was pleasant, profitable and safe. The nine-day industry event was well attended from all 50 U.S. states. More than 90% of the buying power in the domestic home furnishings industry attends the International Home Furnishings Market. The Market is a business event of international significance with participants from more than 105 of the world's 192 nations. International attendance continues to grow significantly as Market's worldwide visibility increases. In 1997, more than 10,350 international participants attended from 105 countries. In comparison, 1,000 international participants attended the Market from 30 countries in 1977. The Market's qualified attendance base includes retail home furnishings dealers, interior designers, architects, and buying groups that represent more than 63 distinct channels of home furnishings distribution.
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